Originally published in the Houston Business Journal on June 20, 2014.
There is a quote from Peter Drucker that has always resonated with me: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Taking that to heart, I believe that as a leader you can’t successfully plan for the future in a quarterly or even monthly meeting. Rather, it is a task you must think about every day.
A lot of CEOs in health care worry constantly about changing reimbursement models or the impact of new health care laws on the future. While there’s no disputing that these have a great potential to influence the way we provide care to patients, it’s not what occupies my thoughts.
I wouldn’t say that I lose sleep over anything in particular, mostly because I don’t sleep much to begin with. I’m usually up by 4 a.m. and, in the peaceful serenity in this time of day, I do find myself thinking a lot about my hospital: where we’ve been, where we’re going and how we can get there.
More than anything, I think about the employees. Am I helping nurture our employees’ growth by providing them the tools and opportunities they need to carry out their ideas and visions to the greatest extent of their capabilities and talents?
As a leader, if you foster a culture centered on your employees, you will be amazed at the extraordinary effort they put forth.
Great organizations invest in their people by developing and maintaining a robust infrastructure of programs and benefits that meet the personal and professional needs of employees, enabling them to thrive. I believe there are three key elements of that infrastructure:
- Financial wellbeing – such as pension plans, competitive wages, benefits and incentives and transportation subsidies.
- Physical wellbeing – comprehensive employee health and wellness programs, employee assistance programs, financial assistance programs, onsite medical clinic and other support programs
- Career wellbeing – learning and development opportunities and reward and recognition programs
In my experience, I’ve found that placing a great emphasis on selecting the right talent and investing in employees, helping them develop and hone their skills and ensuring they are happy and engaged leads to amazing results.
Loyalty to the mission of the organization is the ultimate goal. When you have something special that your employees can rally behind, you need to care for and cultivate it.
There will always be predictions about the future of our industry, with forecasters predicting the imminent doom and gloom, but I’ve never been caught up in this. As leaders, we should be optimistic about the future instead of losing time fretting about what could be.
If organizations attract talent, build leaders, invest in employees, demonstrate the dignity and respect they deserve, regardless of external changes and regardless of predictions, the organization not only survives, but thrives.
What actually does keep CEOs up at night?
According to a study of 1,344 qualitative interviews of CEOs in 68 countries:
63 percent of CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skills in the workforce.
58 percent are concerned about the rising cost of labor in emerging countries.
64 percent say creating a skilled workforce is a priority in the next three years.
93 percent CEOs recognize their company needs to change its strategy for attracting and retaining talent.
61 percent of CEOs say they haven’t yet acted on the plans to attract and retain talent because about two-thirds believe their company’s HR department isn’t well-prepared for the changes needed to respond to change.